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January 15th, 2013.docx

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PHIL 2810
Kristin Borgerson

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January 15th, 2013 January-15-13 9:59 AM Hypothetical imperative  "if you want to do well in the course, you ought to do your readings before the class" Categorical imperative  Applies to you all the time, because you have the capacity to reason o You're bound to all kinds of ought claims because they are "moral laws" Universalizing test  What would happen if everybody did this as well? o Cutting line to bathroom example Political philosophy: Rawls  Rawls o The theory of justice  His concern was to outline what the basic outline of society to look like if we want it to be just  This is most important to get right, because we can then work on the details after that o Idea is to design from scratch a well ordered society  You know that you have if everybody has bought into the principles of justice that satisfy that society, and knows the basic structure of their society has been designed in line with those principles  If we get all this done, then we can say the authority of the state is justifiable Social contract theory  It starts from one basic insight, which is the moral equality of human beings o Means we are not naturally subordinate to other human being or groups of humans o If we aren't, then how can naturally free and equal people be legitimately governed? o So why as individuals in a society buy into a concept that other people govern us? And what would justify this government, and our obligations to it?  Social contract theory sets up hypothetical scenario where citizens get together and set up a social contract that is to govern a state o All set up and agree on basic structure of the society o This starts by taking recognition of the different kinds and views of the 'good life'  So people have to agree to disagree about all sorts of different things, reasonably disagree of course about how they perceive the 'good life'  So we need to set up society where the agreement to disagree is ok  Fact of reasonable pluralism o We recognize that other people might reasonably disagree with us, and we recognize the need to agree to disagree John Rawls  Is providing us with an ideal theory, why? o Gives us accountable well ordered society o You have some idea as to where we deviate from the just society 'setup'  That way you can view your society in respect to and try to make changes to bring you closer to that just, ordered society  Justice as fairness o Is what free and equal person would agree to as basic terms of social cooperation under conditions that are fair for this purpose  You set up a procedure that is fair, and whatever results from that we know is going to be just  What you get from this are the principles of justice The original position  Rawls gives us this original position, but it is behind a veil of ignorance o A veil of ignorance is a construct that prevents you from knowing all sorts of particular facts about yourself  Everyone in the original position is self-interested o And you will propose principles of justice that will benefit you o So Rawls says you need to put that behind the veil of ignorance, and pretend you don't know that fact about yourself when you're proposing these principles of justice  Behind veil of ignorance everyone is mutually disinterested o Veil is supposed to remove all of our knowledge of these certain aspects of ourselves, and make us think about what we would do if we were to end up in any one of these bodies (class example) Ignorance of  Race  Sex  Moral beliefs  Personal values  Personality traits  Location in history  You are ignorant of any fact that may skew your prejudice Results  Liberty o Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all o We need to have to allow each person to pursue what they view to be the good l
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